Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is on trial this last week in New York on charges of her attempting to kill an FBI officer in Afghanistan. It interesting to note that none of the assault charges are seemingly holding up against her, the M-4 rifle which she allegedly used to fire four shots at the officers has not produced a single finger print of her, while other items presented as evidence in are trial are also not standing up in court. What one must remember that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was abducted from Karachi and held in some US custody from 2003 for allegedly supporting terrorism, only to re-emerge as a Prisoner 650 charged with assaulting FBI officers in 2008, her trial is not about her terrorism but instead an assault charge made against her in 2008.
Sounds like someone in Pakistan must answer the tough question as to why they felt the need to hand over her and many like her over to the US without a proper investigation and trial ensuring that they were actually guilty of the alleged crime or terrorist activity. Musharraf or for that matter should not have bartered with her life to pick up and let the Americans smuggle her out of Pakistan merely on the basis of a hunch?
A good summary of the progress of the trial can be heard in this short 10-minute interview of Tina Foster, Executive Director of International Justice Network who has been monitoring Dr. Aafia Siddiqi trial in New York on Letters to Washington telecasted on KPFA Washington Radio
“With U.S. officials failing to produce evidence implicating Dr. Aafia in a shooting incident in Afghanistan, it is now certain that the whole case was basically intended to cast her in the role of the villain. This is how the U.S. can demonise Muslim men and women. Forensic tests have confirmed that the gun allegedly used by her did not carry her fingerprints. Besides, there is the report by a ballistic expert, which also goes in her favour. Now, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see that the charges from day one were totally trumped up since it is totally inconceivable and impossible for a frail woman to carry out such a daredevil stunt of snatching a heavy M-4 rifle single-handedly from a bunch of U.S. commandoes, overpowering them by sheer physical strength, and take aim at them. Nothing could be more ridiculous.
During her trial she also revealed that while in custody she has been brutally tortured and coerced into confessing herself as a terrorist. The U.S. army thugs who abducted the innocent doctor on these false charges must now be brought to book. General Musharraf for his complicity in giving the Americans a virtual carte blanche to commit such atrocities to Pakistanis in broad daylight should also be held accountable. All this provides a peep into the world of our ally Uncle Sam who takes great pride and joy in setting up facilities like Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Abu Gharaib Jail, Camp X-Ray, Bagram Air Base facility, where countless Muslim men and women have been tortured and abused. Likewise, the appalling treatment meted out to the Muslim Diaspora in the US made more intense by draconian measures seriously compromising civil liberties including airport screening procedures and tough immigration laws, shows the degree of Islamophobia prevailing there.
Under the circumstances, it is mandatory for Islamabad to make it clear to the US that it won’t tolerate humiliation of Pakistanis anymore. It would be unfortunate if the state dithers at a time when its citizens are in a dire need of help and protection. As an opening gambit, it should use its muscle and clout in securing Dr. Aafia’s freedom.”